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Marine biodiversity

1 September 2015
With a warming climate, marine biodiversity faces a number of challenges. In order to understand these changes in marine ecosystems, the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) has responded in a number of ways...
Some of these challenges include:

Shipping and resource development are likely to increase, with a potential for increased pollution and disturbance to Arctic biodiversity,

More development may lead to different human settlement patterns and changes in marine resource use,

Decreased ice cover may increase the number of areas accessible to fisheries and make new species economically available, creating both opportunities and challenges for sustainable use, and
migrating species are subject to environmental changes during their travels, including carrying pollutants back to the north in their bodies. Because they move through Arctic as well as non-Arctic territories, international cooperation beyond the Arctic is needed for their concerted and sustained conservation.

In order to understand these changes in marine ecosystems, the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) has responded in a number of ways.

Under the Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program (CBMP), CAFF has established a Marine Expert Monitoring Group to promote, facilitate, coordinate and harmonize marine biodiversity monitoring activities among circumpolar countries, and work to improve ongoing communication amongst and between scientists, community experts, managers and disciplines both inside and outside the Arctic. For more information on marine monitoring please visit the Marine Ecosystem Monitoring section of CAFF´s website

To better understand the impacts of the rapid decline in sea ice, and the associated implications on sea ice associated biodiversity. CAFF experts are undergoing an Arctic Sea Ice Associate Biodiversity project to assess impacts on species and northern peoples, and recommend actions to mitigate changes.

One response to greater human pressures in the Arctic is the creation of protected areas, of which marine ecosystems are particularly scarce. Through the CBMP, CAFF has convened an Arctic Protected Areas Monitoring expert group to help identify areas of heightened ecological significance, and discuss issues facing these important ecosystems.

Photo: Walrus observed by tourists, Franz Josef Island, Russian Arctic National Park by Peter Prokosch/Grid-Arendal.